In our increasingly digital world, a job role that’s emerged as both crucial and growing is that of a help desk technician.
Help Desk Technicians are critical to any organization relying on technology for its operations, which, in the 21st century, is virtually every company.
But what exactly does a help desk technician do, how can one become one, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this career path?
In this blog post, we will explore these questions, provide data on wages and job growth, and offer tips for embarking on this career journey.
What does a Help Desk Technician Do?
- A help desk technician’s primary role is to provide technical support and assistance to employees within an organization or to customers.
- They troubleshoot and resolve technical issues, handle routine maintenance, and set up and install hardware and software.
- Help Desk Technicians serve as the first point of contact for users experiencing difficulties, and as such, good communication and problem-solving skills are essential.
What level of Education is Required to become a Help Desk Tech?
To become a help desk technician, typically, a minimum of a high school diploma is required, though many employers prefer candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field.
Crucial skills for this role include:
- Technical knowledge: Basic understanding of computer hardware, software, and networking is essential.
- Problem-solving skills: Ability to troubleshoot and resolve issues efficiently.
- Communication skills: Clear and empathetic communication is necessary for explaining complex technical issues to non-technical users.
- Customer service skills: Patience and understanding can go a long way in dealing with frustrated users.
In addition, having certifications like A+, Network+, or ITIL can significantly enhance your career prospects.
Steps to Becoming a Help Desk Technician
- Education: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. While not always necessary, pursuing higher education in a tech-related field can give you an edge.
- Gain technical skills: Understanding operating systems, network configuration, and software installation is key. Consider hands-on training or self-study.
- Certification: Pursue relevant IT certifications. These not only boost your knowledge but also validate your skills to potential employers.
- Get Experience: Start in an entry-level IT role or an internship to gain real-world experience.
- Continuous Learning: Technology evolves rapidly. Staying current with the latest advancements is crucial for success.
Job Market and Salary Data
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual wage for computer user support specialists, including help desk technicians, was $57,910 in May 2021. However, wages can vary depending on the industry, level of experience, and geographical location.
The job market for help desk technicians is expected to grow. From 2021 to 2031, employment for computer support specialists is projected to grow by 6%, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the ongoing demand for technical support in various industries.
Benefits of Becoming a Help Desk Technician
- Ever-evolving industry: The tech industry is continually evolving, offering fresh challenges and continuous learning opportunities.
- High demand: The reliance on technology in all sectors ensures that competent help desk technicians are always in demand.
- Versatility: The skills you gain can be transferred to a variety of roles within the IT sector, offering numerous career progression opportunities.
- Interpersonal interaction: This role provides the chance to interact with diverse individuals, thereby improving your communication skills.
Drawbacks of the Profession
- High stress: Dealing with technical issues and frustrated users can be stressful.
- Unpredictable hours: Sometimes, you may need to be on call or work outside normal business hours to resolve critical issues.
- Constant learning: While this can be a benefit, it can also be daunting. As technology evolves, there’s a need to continuously learn and adapt.
Choosing a career as a help desk technician offers a solid start in the IT industry. It offers a blend of technical challenges and people interaction, making it ideal for individuals who enjoy problem-solving and helping others. Despite the potential for stress and the demand for continuous learning, the career prospects, and job stability make it a rewarding choice for those interested in technology.